whole body approach

What Is Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine refers to the use of healing therapies that are not part of traditional medical treatments. Alternative medicines or Non-Traditional Medicine are used in place of these conventional practices with the hopes that they provide the same healing effects of standard medical care.  Alternative Health

What Is Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine refers to the use of healing therapies that are not part of traditional medical treatments. 

How To Define Alternative Medicine

Nearly half of all American adults have claimed to incorporate some form of alternative medicine therapies in their health care treatments. Some individuals choose to rely solely on alternative therapies while others incorporate alternative therapies with their standard medical treatments.

The majority of alternative health care therapies are not backed by scientific methods or research. Their effectiveness has not been proven by scientific standards, but by anecdotal research and practice.  

Alternative medicine refers to the use of healing therapies that are not part of traditional medical treatments. Alternative medicines are used in place of these conventional practices with the hopes that they provide the same healing effects of standard medical care.  

These non-traditional medicine practices do not find their origins in scientific methods, but rather in cultural practices that have been maintained for many years. Some identify alternative medicine as “Eastern Practices” that have been held for thousands of years. Others identify alternative medicine as metaphysical and spiritual practices that provide healing therapies.  

So, what does this mean for the average person? How do you identify what alternative therapy practices may prove beneficial? Let us clarify.  

Alternative Therapy Examples

With growing popularity in the United States, alternative medical practices have taken root in today’s society. Many choose to use these practices to support their traditional care. And some use them independently. Here are some examples of common alternative health and medical practices: 

Acupuncture: 

This practice falls under traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture therapy is an approach to “unblock and move” the body’s energy (also known as Qi) through the natural functioning systems. The goal is to ensure a balance and a harmonious flow of Qi through the circulatory, digestive, respiratory, and nervous systems. The belief is that your medical ailments or health concerns are a direct complication of your Qi not flowing correctly through your body. Depending on where the “blockage” is, a licensed and experienced acupuncturist will determine the specific areas of your body that will be treated. Sterilized, thin needs are inserted into your skin on specific meridian points to stimulate your natural healing processes.  

Ayurvedic Medicine: 

A holistic therapy, Ayurvedic medicine relies on promoting good health and not treating disease. The belief is wellness is dictated by a balance between mind, body, and spirit. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine believe all aspects of the universe are connected and each person is composed of five basic elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements operate as “doshas” and dictate the state of your health and must remain in balance for optimum health. An Ayurvedic practitioner will evaluate your primary dosha and develop a treatment plan with your unique physical and emotional needs in place. Not all Ayurvedic treatments are considered safe, and you should always consult with your licensed physician before incorporating Ayurveda therapy.  

Chiropractic Therapy: 

Trained and certified chiropractors focus on the spine and the body’s structure. They focus on the interconnected functions and use different techniques to manipulate the spine so that they’re in proper alignment. Chiropractors strive to improve body function, so if you are experiencing back pain, they will maneuver your body to ease your pain, and heal naturally.  

Herbal Medicine:

This therapeutic approach refers to the use of plants to treat diseases and to enhance your body’s natural functions. Herbs are plants (or parts of plants) that may provide therapeutic effects for the people ingesting them. Herbal medicine can be taken in the form of teas, extracts, powders, fresh plants, and dried plants. Patients should be weary of products that labeled as “natural” because that is not always the case, and the product may have no plant product within it. Years of nutritional deficiencies like an excess of rich fats, complex carbohydrates, and sugars have led to many chronic diseases and complications. A dietary approach like incorporating herbal medicine and altering your food choices can significantly help. For example, if you are suffering from nausea or discomfort in your stomach, drinking a ginger tea can provide you with relief.  

Energy Therapy: 

This treatment relies on the assumption that there is an energy fields that exists within, and surrounds the human body. Treatment is based upon this belief, and it is thought that by changing the energy you can encourage healing and wellness. Some believe these external energies from people or objects directly affect a person’s health. Magnetic field therapy uses electrical fields to treat musculoskeletal conditions. Reiki therapy incorporates places the body over targeted areas of the body with tapping to promote healing. Therapeutic touch has the practitioner use their own healing energy to identify and repair imbalances without actually touching the patient. The goal of energy healing is to promote a harmonious flow of energy through the body. There is very little proof (if at all) that energy therapy provides healing, however a “placebo-effect” may be enough to encourage the natural healing systems of the body.  

What To Remember 

If you are interested in using alternative medicine to treat your condition or maintain your wellness it is critical that you are fully informed. It is always best to pursue these treatments under the guidance of a doctor, and have a full picture of what the potential side effects could be.  

Unfortunately, many products may prey on an individual’s desire for specific health goals to be quickly gained (ie clear skin, chronic pain relief, weight loss, etc). Some herbal medicines may have negative interactions with traditional prescription medication you take. So, it is always important for your alternative health care be managed with the supervision of your physician as well. Non-traditional medicine has played a significant role for many years, across many cultures, and for a wide variety of things. But it is always important to realize that lack of scientific backing for these practices guarantees no results or concrete promises of wellness.  

Alternative Medicine Treatments: 

Shakthi Health and Wellness Center offers several safe alternative medicine therapies for patients. “Tools” that Dr. Rao believes could provide benefits to incorporate within integrative medicine approach, she offers, Reiki Therapy, Acupuncture, and Amethyst Bio-Mat treatments.  

Other Approaches: 

Dr. Rao offers other approaches to wellness for enhanced vitality for her patients. Patients will have access to nutrition recommendations and advice when training for physical activity. She can evaluate your eating habits and determine ideal ways to incorporate plant-based food to improve gut health. Shakthi Health and Wellness Center also offer diagnostic testing to evaluate inflammation levels, hormone balances, and recommendations to reduce stress.  

Shakthi Health and Wellness Center also offers access to infrared sauna therapy. An infrared sauna uses infrared lamps that use electromagnetic radiation as opposed to traditional heating elements. This type of sauna penetrates more deeply than warm air, with better intensity at a lower temperature. Our infrared sauna improves sleeps, promotes better circulation, and enhanced recovery for sore muscles. 

Get Started: 

If you are interested in learning how Alternative Medicine therapies can help you, or would like more information about holistic approaches to enhancing your health, CALL Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! You will speak to one of our dedicated integrative medicine staff members who will set up your consultation with Dr. Jyothi Rao. Dr. Rao is a deeply experienced specialist who will effectively evaluate your symptoms and optimize your body’s vitality. Call (301) 703-5067 and speak to our concierge staff to schedule your appointment today! 

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(301) 703-5067


2702 Back Acre Circle Suite 190c Mt. Airy, MD 21771


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I came to see Dr. Rao with symptoms of chronic fatigue, abdominal pains, depression, and weight gain. I had seen a couple other doctors and they had found that I had very high inflammation levels and over 15 food allergies/sensitivities. They wanted me to just take prescription drugs, but I wanted more than a quick fix. I wanted my health and my life back!

Anna Smoot

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At Shakthi, you are met with a breath of fresh air, literally. A swoosh of good smells, ginger tea, a change in the energy that lifts you up before you even begin the treatment you came for. The choices are infinite, the staff warm and welcoming, rest assured you are in good hands.

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(301) 703-5067


2702 Back Acre Circle Suite 190c Mt. Airy, MD 21771


Meet Our Team

Integrative Medicine Providers

Our Providers

Our practice believes enhancing your vitality is possible through holistic lifestyle changes. Integrative medicine focuses on the relationship between your mind, body, and soul. We are mindful of this significant union when supporting your path to whole body wellness. 

Our team is composed of skilled medical professionals who are highly knowledgeable in the practice of holistic integrative therapies. We believe patients shouldn’t have to settle for “quick fixes” for their health.  

Our patients are provided with healing-oriented therapies, combining complementary and conventional medicine to promote whole body wellness.   

Our Center believes in the infinite possibilities of health through finite change to one’s lifestyle. We use diagnostic tests to identify deficiencies and develop treatment plans that puts patients back on the path to health and vitality restoring stability and balance.

We believe patients shouldn’t settle. Our practice is not a revolving door. We listen, and most importantly, we hear you. When it comes to your health and well-being, don’t you want to be heard.